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Sir Walter Ralegh (1554-1618), Soldier, sailor, poet and writer

Sitter in 47 portraits
A poet, explorer, soldier, sailor, courtier and favourite of Elizabeth I, Ralegh was a true 'Renaissance Man'. Much of his literary work is lost but about thirty short poems and various prose works survive, including The History of the World. He organised and financed a number of expeditions to North America, and in later life made several unsuccessful attempts to find gold in South America. Implicated in a plotting against James I, Ralegh spent much of the kings reign in the Tower. He was executed for treason in 1618.